George Orwell once wrote that ‘the great enemy of clear language is insincerity.’ His concern was that the English language was headed down a steep decline into pretentious, deceitful and vague verbal garbage. But there is a new, acid-reflux-inducing kind of linguistic nonsense sprouting up, which would make Orwell turn in his grave: corporate jargon.

Corporate jargon epitomises the total debasement of the English language by using as many empty, negative, or complex words as possible, to say very little of actual substance. A seasoned jargon assailant could gain some additional pretentious-points by using words with Greek or Latin origin, such as “synergise” (or “synergize” if you really want to make me wretch).

Not only is corporate jargon both irritating and confusing as hell, but it can make a person sound untrustworthy. So, unless the intention is to force a colossal wedge between language and meaning and confuse everyone within earshot, just say what you mean.

If you are guilty of this linguistic atrocity, do not fear. The b1 team have put together a handy translation guide to help you get back to reality:

Blue sky thinking → Free / unencumbered thinking

Punch a puppy → Do bad for the greater good

Reaching out → Contacting / talking to

Square the circle → Do something hard

Touch base offline → Meet and talk

Throw under the bus → Do something bad to someone

Idea shower → Think about / come up with ideas

Think outside the box → Consider problem from new perspective

On my radar → I’m aware of it (and, apparently, I’m a submarine)

Peel the onion → Examine something

Get our ducks in a row → Actually, we’re guilty of this one

Anyone who uses the phrase “run it up the flagpole” is probably a corporate robot.

Orwell wrote that a person who uses this kind of language has ‘gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved.’ So, there you have it; anyone who uses the phrase “run it up the flagpole” is probably a corporate robot.

“It’s good to talk” is our motto here at b1 Creative, but implicit in this saying is our respect for authenticity and straight talking. We will never bamboozle people with corporate jargon, and we’d always rather say it how it is. Our motto should really be; “it’s good to talk – unless it’s bullshit”.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by the linguistic barbarism discussed here today, please get in touch with b1 on social media and share your most detested business jargon. If you would like to learn more about how you can avoid spewing such abhorrent verbal garbage, please refer to Politics and the English Language

– Emi (Account Exec.)